Russia-Ukraine war: At least 16 people were killed on Wednesday during Russia's air strikes on Ukraine's southern Kherson region, according to local prosecutors. "The death toll has risen to 16," the prosecutor's office said on Telegram, adding that 'about 22' other people were 'injured to varying degrees.'
The authorities announced a curfew from Friday evening. "Under the procedural control of the Kherson District Prosecutor's Office, a pre-trial investigation has been initiated into the violation of the laws and customs of war combined with premeditated murder (Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)," it said.
Russia claims Ukraine tried to assassinate Putin
This comes after Russia claimed that Ukrainian forces tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin when it flew two drones toward the Kremlin overnight. Russia further said Putin was not in the building at the time of the attack.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had seen reports from Moscow of an alleged drone attack by Ukraine on the Kremlin, but he 'can't in any way validate them,' reported CNN. "We simply don't know. I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt," Blinken said Wednesday at a Washington Post Live event.
"We'll see what the facts are. And it's really hard to comment or speculate on this without really knowing what the facts are," Blinken added. Blinken also said that the United States is "intensely engaged with the Russians" to seek detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's freedom, but added that there was not "a clear way forward," reported CNN.
"We have a channel that (US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin) established some time ago to try to work on these cases. So we're engaged. I wish I could say that in this moment, there was a clear way forward. We don't have that in this moment, but it's something that we're working every single day," he said at a Washington Post event.
US holds talks with Russia over wrongfully detained Americans
Earlier on Monday, Blinken described the dialogue with Russia on the issue of wrongfully detained Americans as 'irregular.' The top US diplomat said Wednesday that the US is also trying to get Russia to provide consular access to Gershkovich, which they've only done once. Ukraine has denied any knowledge of the alleged drone attack in Moscow, reported CNN.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denied that his country was responsible for what Russia says was an assassination attempt against Russian President Vladimir Putin, after an apparent drone attack on the Kremlin."We don't attack Putin or Moscow," Zelenskyy said during a news conference in Helsinki. The Ukrainian president said that Ukraine didn't have enough weapons to spare in incidents like this, reported CNN.
"We fight on our territory, we are defending our villages and cities. We don't have enough weapon[s] for this. That's why we don't use it anywhere [else]," Zelensky explained. "For us that is the deficit, we can't spend [waste] it."Zelenskyy is in Finland for a meeting with Finnish and other Nordic counterparts. Finland, which shares a border with Russia, became NATO's 31st member in April."We didn't attack Putin. We leave it to the tribunal," he said. Meanwhile, Russian state media said a drone strike caused a large fire at an oil storage facility in southwestern Russia near a bridge to annexed Crimea, reported CNN.